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wolfie Memphis - A travel report by Michael
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Memphis,  United States - flag United States -  Tennessee
3877 readers

wolfie's travel reports

The birthplace of Rock n Roll

  8 votes
I left my six stringed razor at home, put on my blue suede shoes and flew out via Amsterdam to Memphis Tennessee. The main reason for my trip was work, but I had a few days to explore. report of the month contest
Jul 2009

Memphis travelogue picture
Memphis isn’t a very “high rise” city. There are only a relatively small number of tall buildings, which are hardly “sky scrapers”. Looking out of my hotel bedroom window I could see most of them.

Probably the main thing that struck me about the city centre was how dead it was. Beale Street, the historic entertainment district, was incredibly lively, especially at night, but other than that there isn’t much activity. There are very few shops – everything seems to be located on out of town shopping malls. There wasn’t even a book shop to browse in! There were only a few cultural attractions in the centre too – the Orpheum theatre, the National Civil Rights Museum and the Belz museum of oriental and Judaic art – other than the music related attractions around Beale Street. Other attractions, including museums and art galleries (oh, and shopping) are located further out and you'd need transport to reach them.

Traffic was relatively light, especially when compared to similar sized cities in Britain. During my visit, the wide roads were hardly busy, even during the daytime. This was probably a reflection of the lack of activity in the city centre.

The climate in the summer is hot and humid - but be prepared for thunderstorms and even tornados. And when it rains it REALLY rains!

Favourite spots:
Memphis travelogue picture
Beale Street

Beale street was a hub of activity. I got there about 7:30 on a Thursday evening and it was already pretty lively and it became more so as the the sun set and night drew in. There were throngs of people wandering around between the bars and restaurants and it was even possible to buy drinks to consume on the street. Most of the bars seemed to have a live act and there were street performers too – acrobats at the top end of the street and musicians at the bottom end. There was quite a strong police presence, obviously needed to keep things in order.

Stax Museum

A must for a lover of soul music. Its on the outskirts of town and there isn't a free shuttle to take you there, so you'll probably need to take a taxi.

Belz Museum

A hidden gem

What's really great:

I guess you can’t go to Memphis without visiting Graceland! It was much smaller than I expected – and the portico on the front made it look much grander than it actualy was. It was large – but nowhere near as big as I’d imagined and I expect most superstars today have far bigger houses. Other than this I guess it was what I'd expected - very 1970's and a mirror into Elvis's lifestyle.

As well as the house you, for an extra fee, you can see his collection of cars and other vehicles and his two planes. there are also a number of other exhibitions on the site as well as plenty of retail opportunities.

Sun Studios

The birthplace of rock n roll where Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and other greats recorded their hits. Its only quite small and the guided tour takes just less than an hour.

Gibson Guitar Factory

An interesting guided tour - a must for wannabe guitarists

Main Street Trolley

A ride on the trolley is a must - and only cost one dollar!

Memphis travelogue picture
National Civil Rights museum

Located in the Lorraine Hotel where martin Luther King was assassignated. Educational, but not dull. A well spent two hours. Reflect on the injustice of slavery and racism and on how it is possible to gain your rights if you are prepared to fight for them

Farmers Market

Every Saturday morning near the Amtrac railway station and on the Trolley Line

Crowne Plaza

A little out of the centre but they run a complimentery shuttle - and its not too far to walk! A refurbished seventies hotel. I had a nice, large, well appointed room for a reasonable cost. Free Internet access.

The restauraunt wasn't so hot and there were not enough lifts - only 2 serving the hotel and the stairs couldn't be accessed from the ground floor.

Memphis travelogue picture
Beale Street - see above

Lots of bars and places to eat, most of them with entertainment provided. Free entertainment on the street - blues and rock n' roll plus the Beale Street flippers
Make sure you're finished by 3 a.m. though!

Flying fish menu
Flying fish menu
Texas de Brazil on Second Street - can you eat so much meat!

The Flying Fish on Second Street - my favourite.

The Blues Cafe at the top of Beale Street

BB Kings Bar on Beale Street. The food wasn't so great but worth visiting for the atmosphere and music (cover charge on door)

Westy's in the Pinch District end of Main Street

Published on Saturday August 8th, 2009

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Sat, Aug 15 2009 - 06:43 AM rating by bineba

I really liked your report. The Deep South is on my list of places I would like to visit and Memphis would be one of the places I want to visit.

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